RISE OF THE BOURGEOIS 5
In the 19th century, the middle class people in westerncountries were becoming tired with the oppressive regimes. Widelyknown as the bourgeoisie, the middles class people in these countriesused their money to gain power and control the policy making.Primarily, the higher and the lower middle class were oppressed bythe system and they lived a society where they had no civil,political or social rights (Davidson, 2012). In essence, this meantthat were not rewarded on merit, but on inheritance and family ties.The bourgeoisie, comprising of merchants and traders in the urbancenters, sought to fight for their civil rights and for those in thelower middle class. Notably, the bourgeoisie had access to money andthey relied upon this advantage to gain power. The aristocraticgovernments were largely opposed to any changes in the forms ofleadership.
Thesis: Although the middle class in western society had nopolitical power or land, they used their money and educational skillsto rise to power and influence policy changes that favored free tradeand rewarded hard work.
Towards the 19th century and after World War I in 1918,the western region experienced tremendous industrial growth. Therewere changes in technology that enabled increased production at thefactories. Furthermore, between the beginning of the 18thcentury and the mid 19th century, the population of manywestern countries had increased by more than 50%. This implied thatthere was increased demand for labor (Davidson, 2012). The uppermiddle class now owned industries and factories and there werenumerous financiers for traders such as banks. This implied that thelow middle class people had an opportunity to earn money through theprovision of labor in the industries and factories. The bourgeoisieused their money to influence political changes where people were tobe rewarded for work. This meant that the more people worked, themore they earned. Most of the poor people from the rural areas hadthe opportunity to migrate to the urban areas and make money.Majority of the people in these western regions comprised of theupper and lower middle class. The noble, who were the kings and theirallies owned the land and controlled capital. However, the risingeconomic power of the middle class aided by their factories andindustries enabled them to start acquiring land. Gradually, thedominance of the upper class started to fade and the middle class’spolitical policies started to be accepted.
Due to the rising economic powers of the middle class, most of thesefamilies sent their children to school and were more interested inreading the newspapers that carried stories of their politicalinterests. The 19th century saw a huge increase in thenumber of educated middle class who knew their rights. During thisperiod, the feudalists had little regard for money, which was nowbecoming an important tool of influence political change. Educationand money enabled the middle class people to overcome the rules ofthe feudal leaders (Davidson, 2012). The advent of trade and thereduction of government interference on business activities ensuredthat the merchants belonging to the middle class amassed immensewealth. Furthermore, the middle class in the urban centers coercedthe governments to open up trade with other countries and protectlocal business through tariffs. Therefore, it is evident that therise of the bourgeoisie in the western countries in Europe wasinformed by the industrial revolution that followed the World War Iand the increase in population, as well as the improvements intechnology.
Despite the various positive changes that the rise of the middleclass had on the civil rights of the lower class people in society,it is clear from extensive research that it restricted the roles ofwomen to domestic duties. During their rise, the middle class haddivided gender roles. Men were expected to provide for the familywhile the women were left at home to take of the children. The younggirls were encouraged to practice the piano and this indicated theseparation of gender roles. This would later lead to the developmentof female musicians. However, there were a few women who wereeducated and were working in some of the industries and factories. Akeen analysis of this period has indicated that there were a fewwomen who were prostitutes as they sought to make money (Davidson,2012). The rich and wealthy merchants would exchange job positionswith sex hence making women sex objects. Despite these vices, womenin the 19th century had started to take up teaching jobsand writing jobs. They were productively employed and they developeda sense of independence and recognition. It is essential to note thatsome of the merchants could employ their wives in their businessesenterprises.
While concluding, it is evident the rise of the middle class in the19th century was a culmination of events that happenedsince the 15th century. The gradual population increase inthe western countries culminated into the huge population of themiddle class in the 19th century. The bourgeoisiesrealized the power of money and they acquired it through trade andused their power to influence changes in the government. The demandfor labor and the desire to make money drove the change in womenroles.
Davidson, N. (2012). How revolutionary were the bourgeoisrevolutions? Chicago: Haymarket Books.